JM Barrie quote removed from Kirriemuir over inaccuracy fears

Red-faced council chiefs are being forced to lift a pavement inscription celebrating author JM Barrie - after it emerged the phrase used may have come from a big-screen adaptation of his work rather than his own pen.

The quote by Peter Pan author JM Barrie may not have come directly from his own work. Picture: Getty Images

The words “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting” were carved into slabs laid around the world-famous statue of Peter Pan in Kirriemuir, Angus, during a six figure revamp of the town centre.

But historians have raised questions over the origins of the quote - popularly associated with the story of The Boy Who Never Grew Up.

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Even avid fans of the stories online have been unable to nail down the quote’s provenance.

Now Angus Council are to lift the slabs and replace them with a phrase with more concrete origins.

Local historian David Orr said he was left scratching his head when he saw the quote curving its way around the base of the Peter Pan statue.

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He said: “I read it and thought that I hadn’t heard it before, so I Googled it and it turned out that the quote has already created a bit of debate amongst Barrie enthusiasts.

“It is well known, but it doesn’t ring true with me as Barrie’s.

“I do my own history tours in Kirrie so I wanted to make sure I knew its exact origins if I was asked about it.”

He added: “The town centre works were finished just in time for the unveiling of the Bon Scott statue a couple of weeks ago and it was then that I noticed the quote around the Peter Pan statue in the town square, which is already known the world over.

“It is great that Kirrie has been getting such positive attention of late but this is all a bit embarrassing - and probably quite expensive.

“I just wonder how much thought was actually put into getting a good quote in the first place.”

Mr Orr approached JM Barrie historian Sandra Affleck - who also couldn’t answer the question of where the words came from.

He then contacted the local Gateway to the Glens museum, which prompted Angus Council to decide on replacing the sentiment.

A spokeman for the council said: “We are grateful to one of our museum visitors for raising this with us.

“While this quotation has been widely attributed to the famous author there is a lack of absolute certainty over its origins.

“As such we feel it is appropriate to replace it with one that can be incontrovertibly traced to the work of the great JM Barrie.”

Barrie’s fairytale featuring Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook and the Darling children has captured the imaginations of millions of readers and movie goers since it was first penned in the early 20th century.

Disney, Universal and Tristar have made movie adaptations, with scores of spin offs and stage productions.